Today, Friday we are just north of Tucson at the Catalina State Park in the Coronado National Forest, which also includes the Pusch Ridge Wilderness Area. We have been here since Monday and keep extending our stay. Weather has been really great for a few days (not to rub it in) but today we are having heavy showers. It rained really hard all night last night too, but we did hear coyotes for the first time. That was really cool!
We were excited to realize that Biosphere 2 which we had heard about when the whole experiment started and “failed” back in the early 1990’s, was just down the road 18 miles. The concept and execution was incredible and its evolution over the years has been remarkable. Our tour guide was very enthusiastic and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. So much so that when we left we were the last car in the lot and the gates were closed! Thank goodness they open out automatically! Put this on your must visit list.
Wednesday, Marti marched us up the Romero Canyon Trail here at the park nearly 3.6 miles (that’s 7.1 miles round trip by our Garmin) with an elevation climb of over 1000 ft. to a place called Romero Pools, elevation 3700ft.
These are nice deep pools of cold, cold mountain water draining down from the peaks and we just had to soak our hot, tired feet. There was flotsam in the trees about eight feet up so clearly an incredible amount of water can come crashing down this canyon. It’s amazing there can be so much water in this dry environment. A local gentleman told us they’ve had so much rain this year they are expecting a wonderful cactus bloom starting next month, we’ll have to come back.
We left the trail head about 10AM and got back around 5PM nearly totally exhausted. This was a hard, hard hike but the landscape and views … just stunning. We also saw a deer, two Golden Eagles soaring, a lizard, two boatmen and assorted little songbirds, (no partridges in a pear tree). We did not see any mountain lions, coyotes or big horn sheep.
Another day’s outing was the Arizona/Sonora Desert Museum. While slightly interesting the explanation signage gave little actual information. Plus it was very crowded; at least it seemed so after our day in the hills. In general for our $36 we were not impressed, maybe being spoiled by free access to all the Smithsonian museums back home. We do however highly recommend Chiricahua Desert Museum on NM Highway 80. We stopped here a week or so back and it’s well worth the $5 each. Put it on your must visit list.
We are planning to leave here Monday heading out to a BLM (Bureau of Land Management) area near Why, Arizona, to boondock. Boondocking merits its own post but the short of it is camping on public land with no electric, water or sewer hookups, or anything else for that matter.